/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/001205.MBX              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Tuesday, December 5, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 235


AVENTIS CROPSCIENCE: Farmers Complain of StarLink in Food Supply
BEAUREGARD PARISH: ACLU Suit On School Prayer Policy To Be Heard Dec 27
BIOFARMA SA: Ontario Ct Finds No Ground to Halt Diet Drug Lawsuit
BREVARD COUNTY: Girls' Sports Bias Suit goes to trial in Orlando, FL
CITIGROUP'S INC: Battle over Purchase of Associates First Heats up

CONNECTICUT POLICE: to Mail Checks to Victims of Telephone Tapping
DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Survival Hinges On Fixing Trouble In 1 Yr, Analysts Say
DEL GLOBAL: Schoengold and Sporn Files Extends Period in Securities Suit
E. COLI OUTBREAK: Meat Packer and Stores in Minnesota Argue over Source
H&R BLOCK: Not an Agent to Rapid Refund Customers, Supreme Court Rules

HEARTLAND FUNDS: All Fund Shareholders Since 1997 Included in Lawsuit
HMOs: Groundbreaking NJ Case Involving Baby Girl's Death Proceeds
HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Former Nazi SS Officer Julius Viel Went on Trial
MILWAUKEE CHILD: Amended Suit over Foster Care System Expected
NYPD: Sp Ct Stays out of Disputes over Police’s Stopping of Taxi in NY

OXNARD UNION: Developers School Construction Fees Waived with Bond Issue
PIPER CAPITAL: SEC Fines $2 Mil for Fraud in Collapse of Fund
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Lawyers Close Arguments Over Florida Vote Tally
PROTECTION ONE: Law Offices of Charles J. Piven Files Securities Suit
SEAGATE TECHNOLOGY: Tells of Final Terms for VERITAS, Multi-Company Deal

SEPTA: Not Responsible for Costs of Therapy by Unlicensed Individuals
SPORT-HALEY, INC: The Desmond Law Firm Investigates Stock Price Decline
UNITED REFINING: 1995 PA Suit over River Pollution Ends in Money Award
UNITED REFINING: Named in MTBE Lawsuit in NY; Case Consolidated
WORLDCOM, INC: Weinstein Kitchenoff Files Securities Suit in Mississippi


AVENTIS CROPSCIENCE: Farmers Complain of StarLink in Food Supply
A class-action lawsuit accuses the developer of StarLink, a variety of
bioengineered corn that accidentally entered the food supply, of harming
American farmers through negligence.

The suit, filed on Friday in United States District Court in East St.
Louis, Ill., on behalf of farmers, is the first to seek damages. It
contends that the developer of the corn, Aventis CropScience, a unit of
Aventis S.A., was negligent in bringing StarLink to market.

The company, the suit says, failed to inform farmers that StarLink had
been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use only in
animal feed and for industrial purposes out of concern that a protein in
the genetically altered corn might set off allergies in humans. The
appearance of StarLink in the food supply led to a nationwide recall of
millions of taco shells and other products.

The suit says that many StarLink farmers, who were unaware of the
planting or selling restrictions, allowed their crops to cross-pollinate
with traditional crops in nearby fields. They also allowed their crops to
be mixed up with regular corn supplies at grain elevators and processing

As a result, the suit contends, the crops of many corn growers who did
not plant StarLink were contaminated by StarLink corn and the subsequent
crisis in the nation's grain-handling system closed off foreign markets
and depressed the price of American corn here and abroad.

Lawyers at Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, the Washington firm that
filed the suit, said that after receiving E.P.A. approval and licensing
the StarLink trait to the Garst Seed Company and others, Aventis failed
to follow procedures ensuring the segregation of StarLink corn.

"They didn't show the kind of prudence or knowledge someone in the
industry should have shown that you could segregate this corn," said
Richard S. Lewis, a partner at Cohen, Milstein. "Now the whole
credibility of the American corn market is taking a beating and people
who did not plant StarLink corn cannot sell their crop in several

A spokeswoman for Aventis CropScience, of Research Triangle Park, N.C.,
declined to comment today, saying the company had not seen the complaint.
But Aventis has canceled its marketing license to sell the StarLink
technology and has agreed to spend millions of dollars to prevent
StarLink corn from entering the food supply. The company has also said it
will buy back some StarLink supplies and compensate some farmers for
their losses.

Because it would take as long as four years for the corn now in the
nation's grain-handling system to be processed, Aventis has also asked
American regulators to approve the use of StarLink corn in food supplies,
saying there is little evidence that it poses risks to humans.

Scores of food companies and grain processors are now testing for
StarLink and trying to prevent it from entering the food supply. There
have been no confirmed reports of serious illnesses caused by StarLink
corn. (The New York Times, December 4, 2000)

BEAUREGARD PARISH: ACLU Suit On School Prayer Policy To Be Heard Dec 27
A mother and her daughter who object to Beauregard schools' student-led
prayers and endorsement of a prayer group feel threatened because of
their beliefs, according to a lawsuit by civil libertarians.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Beauregard
Parish School Board in November seeking to stop student-led prayers and
the district's endorsement of the Partners In Prayers for Schools group.

A hearing on the preliminary junction is scheduled for Dec. 27 in U.S.
District Court in Lake Charles.

The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of Jane Doe and her daughter Jenny.
Defendants in the case are the school board, Superintendent Myrna Cooley
and East Beauregard Elementary School Principal Lynn Boggs.

In the lawsuit, the ACLU says several parish residents have made
statements to the press about the Does that cause them to fear for their
``safety and welfare.''

According to the lawsuit, Boggs has allowed students to pray at school
events and sent parents letters asking them to let Partners In Prayer
pray for their children.

The suit also said that former superintendent Joe Aguillard officially
endorsed the prayer group.

Many residents in Beauregard and Calcasieu parishes favor prayer in
public schools and have protested against the ACLU's attempts to block
student-led prayers at public functions in Beauregard Parish schools.

Earlier this year, the school board voted to allow certain types of
student-led prayers in its schools, saying they were on solid legal
ground making their decision.

Cooley said the policy is based on an October decision by the 11th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed students of DeKalb County, Ala., to
lead prayers at school functions, as long as school officials did not

Over the past four decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has said that public
school prayer violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,
which provides for church-state separation. (AP, December 4, 2000)

BIOFARMA SA: Ontario Ct Finds No Ground to Halt Diet Drug Lawsuit
Canadian patients who took the antiobesity agents Ponderal (phentermine)
and Redux (dexfenfluramine) will now be allowed to join a class action
lawsuit against Biofarma SA and distributor Servier Canada, according to
a ruling in the Ontario Divisional Court.

The Court found no grounds for the companies' appeal against the lawsuit,
which will now move forward to trial. Formal notice will be sent out to
newspapers and magazines in Canada to tell affected individuals of their
rights, and the regional Ministries of Health are also seeking to recover
healthcare costs.

This is the first time that a lawsuit for these drugs, linked to
pulmonary hypertension and valvular heart disease, has been permitted in
Canada, although they were withdrawn in 1997 (Marketletters passim).
American Home Products, which sold the drugs in the USA, has recently
agreed to pay as much as $ 4.5 billion in claims. (Marketletter, December
4, 2000)

BREVARD COUNTY: Girls' Sports Bias Suit goes to trial in Orlando, FL
A federal lawsuit is accusing the Brevard County School Board of striking
out when it comes to providing its high school softball teams decent
fields on which to play.

That lawsuit goes to trial Monday in Orlando.

Members of the girl's softball teams at Astronaut High School and
Titusville High School are asking U.S. District Judge Anne C. Conway to
order the school board to build softball fields at the two schools for

The lawsuit accuses the school board of violating federal and state laws
that guarantee boys and girls equal facilities and opportunities to play

With no softball fields at the schools, the girls' softball teams play at
a park several miles away, where they say the bathrooms are dirty, the
dugouts hardly offer shelter and the players have been harassed by

The boys' baseball teams at the two schools have on-campus fields with
refrigerated water coolers. The field at one school has lights for night

The lawsuit originally was filed in 1997 by twins Jessica and Jennifer
Daniels, who complained the softball field at Merritt Island High School
was inferior to the baseball field. The suit was later expanded to a
class action suit against all of Brevard's 11 high schools.

Earlier this year, the Daniels sisters removed themselves from the case
because they are now in community college and won't be affected by the
judge's decision. (The Associated Press State & Local Wire, December 4,

CITIGROUP'S INC: Battle over Purchase of Associates First Heats up
The battle is heating up between Citigroup Inc. and activists who have
opposed its pending purchase of Associates First Capital Corp., which is
the subject of a class action suit alleging the consumer finance company
engaged in abusive lending practices, also called predatory lending.
Citigroup outlined steps that is said would strengthen its consumer
safeguards, especially for home equity loans and other loans secured by
real estate. The activists claimed that the plan falls short of providing
homeowners with adequate protections from abusive home loans.

The battle is heating up between Citigroup Inc. and activists who have
opposed its pending purchase of Associates First Capital Corp., which is
the subject of a class-action suit alleging the consumer finance company
engaged in abusive lending practices, also called predatory lending.

In a teleconference last week, Citi outlined steps that it said would
strengthen its consumer safeguards, especially for home equity loans and
other loans secured by real estate. But the activists claimed the plan
falls short of providing homeowners with adequate protections from
abusive home loans.

"Citigroup should do more to protect the wealth of families and we will
continue to press Citigroup to adopt responsible lending principles,"
said Eric Stein, a spokesman for the Coalition of Responsible Lending.

Citigroup stated that it would change several lending practices at
CitiFinancial, which will merge with Associates' consumer lending
business if the deal closes as expected. In a letter sent to the New York
State Banking Department, the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corp., Citi outlined standards that it said are well
beyond the standard in the consumer finance industry. Citi's proposal
came as a result of speaking with more than 50 community groups and

For one thing, CitiFinancial will set up a special review process for all
foreclosure actions to ensure that no borrower loses his or her home in
an inappropriate manner. "In rolling out these improvements we understand
that we cannot make everyone happy," said an individual close to the

Citigroup's critics took issue with eight specific items in Citi's
response. First, the group said that Citigroup should prohibit credit
insurance premiums from being financed into loans up-front in a lump- sum
payment, a practice it claims strips equity from homeowners. Fannie Mae,
Freddie Mac, the U.S. Treasury, Housing and Urban Development and some
congressmen have opposed the practice. Citigroup refuses to prohibit
financed credit insurance. Instead it has proposed to provide an option
of credit insurance on a monthly basis.

The group also wants Citi to limit fees charged borrowers, quit charging
back-end prepayment penalties on subprime loans and prohibit yield-spread
premiums. The activists want the FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller
of the Currency to hold hearings on the merger.

"Citigroup has acknowledged that there is a justified concern about
sub-prime lending practices, certain lending practices have gone too
far-thousands of families are being taken advantage of and Citigroup as a
market leader should take action. We and many other groups will continue
to press them to do the right thing, if they do not change their policy,"
Stein said. (The Investment Dealers' Digest : IDD, November 13, 2000)

CONNECTICUT POLICE: to Mail Checks to Victims of Telephone Tapping
The arrest twelve years ago of a Waterbury policeman began a chain of
events which led to the disclosure that Connecticut State Police had a
widespread and illegal system at several police barracks through which
telephone calls were taped without the knowledge of those using the

That disclosure prompted a class action lawsuit against the State Police
on behalf of all those whose calls were taped, or, more precisely, on
behalf of all those who had a substantial basis to believe that their
telephone conversations had been taped at one of the police barracks
where the taping system was in place. Those people included criminal
defendants; their lawyers, when called for advice from police barracks;
news reporters and others who called to or from the barracks; and the
State Police rank and file and their friends and family members. It was a
wholesale invasion of privacy and, in the case of those calls to lawyers
from anxious clients, a breach of the privilege that attaches to those

The state ultimately settled the class action litigation for a total of
$17 million, a substantial sum but nonetheless minuscule compared with
the state's exposure under federal wiretap law, which permits recovery of
$10,000 for each incident of unlawful interception of telephone
communications. Early next year, class members who were able to attest
that their telephone calls were made to or received from barracks where
the taping system was in place, will begin receiving checks through the
Connecticut Police Claims Administrator in amounts ranging up to a
maximum of $1,950.

Mr. Andrew Houlding, a victim and claim recipient, suggested that lawyers
who receive checks from this settlement endorse them over to Connecticut
Legal Services or another Connecticut nonprofit legal services
organization. The injury sustained by those whose calls may have been
taped was not so much a personal insult as an assault on our collective
privacy. These organizations can put the money to good use providing
legal services to those who otherwise cannot afford legal representation.
The lawyers who are eligible to receive the awards did not sustain any
monetary loss as a result of the taping, so the award is something of a
windfall and, on an individual basis, not such a large windfall as to put
any one on Easy Street. (The Connecticut Law Tribune, December 4, 2000)

DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Survival Hinges On Fixing Trouble In 1 Yr, Analysts Say
His prized Chrysler Group, sharply cutting production as sales weaken, is
on track to post a fourth-quarter operating loss near $1 billion. His
company's credit rating has just been downgraded, slicing profits more.
And his indiscreet remarks to a London newspaper drew an $8-billion
lawsuit from billionaire Kirk Kerkorian and a dozen more from angry U.S.

Yet Schrempp, who now admits the so-called "merger of equals" with the
former Chrysler Corp. merely was a negotiating ploy to close the
$36-billion deal with Daimler-Benz AG, still is standing tall.

"You can't change things overnight in the auto industry," Schrempp told
the German newspaper Bild Zeitung in a recent interview focusing on the
restructuring of Chrysler. "But within 12 months, the first tangible
results in America will be on the table."

Twelve months may be all he has left.

Schrempp's survival of an impending corporate implosion that would have
broomed virtually any American chief executive is a testament to the
enduring strength of Germany Inc., the rock-solid and interdependent
German business establishment anchored by DaimlerChrysler and its largest
shareholder, Deutsche Bank AG.

But even Germany Inc.'s patience is limited. DaimlerChrysler's steady
slide and, now, Kerkorian's lawsuit shine a harsh light on Schrempp's
most important ally, Hilmar Kopper. As chairman of the Deutsche Bank and
DaimlerChrysler supervisory boards, Kopper is seen as the kingpin of
German business who backed and must support -- Schrempp's play for
Chrysler. Kopper also is a named defendant in Kerkorian's lawsuit.

Complicating the timetable for Schrempp to fix DaimlerChrysler is a
change in German tax law. Beginning January 2002, German companies could
sell their stakes in other German companies without paying capital gains
taxes on the sale. Deutsche Bank already has signalled its desire to sell
its industrial holdings.

That, however, is more than 12 months away. For now, Kerkorian's
blockbuster lawsuit appears to be strengthening Schrempp's position atop
the German car and truck maker. Instead of accelerating calls for his
ouster, DaimlerChrysler's German labor leaders and shareholders,
including Deutsche Bank, are proclaiming their support for Schrempp
despite deteriorating business conditions.

It wouldn't happen this way in an American company. Under Schrempp,
DaimlerChrysler has lost more than $65 billion in market value -- more
than the total market value of General Motors Corp. -- yet he is seen in
German power circles as perhaps the only executive who can clean up the
mess created on his watch.

"He must go if things are as bad as they are 12 months from now," said
Juergen Pieper, chief auto analyst for Metzler Bank in Frankfurt. "The
sentiment has turned. The financial market is more against him than for

In U.S. financial circles, where firing troubled chief executives is
standard procedure, there is a growing sense that only Schrempp's
departure would improve DaimlerChrysler's fortunes. But with about 20
percent of the company's 100 million shares held by U.S. investors and
mutual funds, the power to remove Schrempp lies largely in non-American
hands -- chiefly Deutsche Bank's 12-percent stake and the 7.4 percent
stake held by the Kuwaiti Investment Authority.

"The reality is that 70 percent of shareholders are still in Europe,"
said Joseph Harrigan, auto analyst for Credit Suisse First Boston in
London. "He needs their support more than the Americans. As long as he
has Deutsche Bank and the Kuwaitis on board, it's very difficult to put
any pressure on Schrempp."

                              Media offensive

But Schrempp and his lieutenants are not taking any chances. In
interviews with German newspapers and magazines, Schrempp and his allies
effectively are ridiculing Kerkorian's legal assault and discrediting the
ousted American leadership of Chrysler, justifying Schrempp's decision to
install his close associate, Dieter Zetsche, as president of the Chrysler

In Der Spiegel, the influential German weekly newsmagazine, Schrempp
said: "Originally, Chrysler was supposed to make a $3.79-billion profit
in 2000. In July, the expectation was reduced to about $3.03 billion. In
October to about $ 2.11 billion. And now we're talking about less than $2
billion. And I fear we haven't seen the end yet."

In Wirtschaftwoche, a German business magazine, a key labor
representative on DaimlerChrysler's supervisory board, Manfred Goebels,
said: "Apparently in the preparation stage of the merger, Chrysler didn't
make all the necessary information available."

In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, near the headline "Deutsche Bank
closes ranks with Schrempp as DaimlerChrysler boss comes under fire," a
front-page editorial said Kerkorian's lawsuit "brings Schrempp and
Deutsche Bank closer together. DaimlerChrysler is in trouble not because
of Daimler-Benz, but because of Chrysler. This is why this assault by
Kerkorian ... is largely useless."

Even Schrempp's critics, such as shareholder advocate Christian Strenger,
a nonexecutive board member of DWS Investments GmbH, a DaimlerChrysler
shareholder, are voicing support of Schrempp and condemning Kerkorian's
lawsuit. But the most important support is coming privately, from the man
who made Schrempp king: Hilmar Kopper.

                           Needs Deutsche Bank

Schrempp's survival depends on the unfolding turnaround at Chrysler, the
strength of the softening U.S. car and truck market and, most
importantly, Deutsche Bank, described by author Werner Meyer-Larsen as
Germany's "unequalled citadel of power, universality and solidarity."

In 1995, Kopper tapped Schrempp to become chairman of Daimler-Benz, then
reeling from corporate infighting and mounting losses from the
diversification drive of Edzard Reuter. In 1993 alone, Daimler-Benz lost
$1.27 billion -- a loss likely to be eclipsed by the Chrysler Group's
losses in the second half of this year.

Simply put, Schrempp is Kopper's man and the DaimlerChrysler deal is,
ultimately, Kopper's deal. Kopper has told associates that he continues
to support Schrempp despite his inflammatory remarks to the London's
Financial Times in which he admitted lying to Chrysler executives to
close the deal that created DaimlerChrysler.

Deutsche Bank never fires "a board member when he is under public
pressure," said Christian Breitsprecher, an auto analyst with Deutsche
Bank. "All of this public pressure binds them together. And if they get
rid of Schrempp, who can they put in his place?"

                            Facing Kerkorian

Whoever would succeed Schrempp may be unimportant to his newest nemesis -
Kerkorian, a skilled corporate fighter. Well-known at Chrysler for his
failed 1995 takeover attempt, Kerkorian is characterized by many in
Germany as the stereotypical American capitalist: short-sighted, naive
and too willing to use the courts and lawsuits to get his way.

While Schrempp and DaimlerChrysler insiders may scoff at the merits of
Kerkorian's lawsuit, they can't ignore how it has galvanized American
sentiment against Schrempp. A dozen class-action suits were filed on the
heels of the Kerkorian suit, creating a potential pool of thousands of
plaintiffs joining the legal action against DaimlerChrysler.

American managers in Auburn Hills lived through Kerkorian's guerrilla war
against Chrysler five years ago. Generally, they don't think Kerkorian
can win his case in a courtroom, but they fear the damage he can cause in
the court of public opinion. With a crack legal and public relations team
behind him, Kerkorian is determined to tar Schrempp as a liar at every

Schrempp might have avoided war with Kerkorian simply by opening a
dialogue with the 83-year-old financier. But Schrempp has proven to be
less than open with his American stakeholders.

"This is just another example," retired Chrysler manufacturing chief
Dennis Pawley said, "of how the Germans have got to open a meaningful
door of communications here - with the dealers, with employees and with
American investors."

Automotive writer Bill Vlasic contributed to this story. Contact Daniel
Howes at dchowes@detnews.com.

Schrempp's challenges:

* Defend DaimlerChrysler merger in wake of lawsuits from Kirk Kerkorian,
   other disgruntled American shareholders.

* Rebuild Chrysler Group profits.

* Restore flagging morale, trust and calm Chrysler employees in wake of
   executive departures.

* Maintain support of key shareholders Deutsche Bank and Kuwaiti
   Investment Authority.

* Improve communication with investors, analysts and employees. (The
   Detroit News, December 3, 2000)

DEL GLOBAL: Schoengold and Sporn Files Extends Period in Securities Suit
On December 1, 2000, Schoengold & Sporn, P.C. filed a lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
against Del Global Technologies Corp. ("Del Global" or the "Company")
(Nasdaq: DGTC) and certain of the Company's key officers and directors on
behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of Del Global during the
extended period August 13, 1997 through and including November 6, 2000
(the "Time Period"). If you purchased Del Global stock during the Time
Period, you may contact the undersigned at (800) 232-8092 or by e-mail at
delgloballawsuit@aol.com to obtain more information to determine if you
would like to participate in the lawsuit.

The complaint charges the defendants with violations of the anti-fraud
provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, by, among other
things, omitting material information and disseminating materially false
and misleading statements concerning the Company and its financial
condition, contained in public statements, filings with the Securities
and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and press releases. On November 6, 2000,
Del Global shocked the investment community when it announced that its
net income for the fiscal year ending July 29, 2000 would be
"substantially lower than its net income for Fiscal 1999 and that it
would delay the filing of its Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange
Commission. It is expected that the Company will have to revise its
fiscal 2000 quarterly results." The Company further announced that it "is
currently conducting a review to determine if it will also be required to
restate Fiscal 1999 results." As a result, throughout the Class Period,
Del Global's financial statements were materially false and misleading in
that they overstated revenue and net income. Following this announcement,
trade in the Company shares was halted on Monday, November 6, 2000. In
addition, Company insiders took advantage of their inside information and
sold shares of Del Global stock at artificially inflated prices.

Contact: Jay P. Saltzman, Esq. or Ashley Kim, Esq., 212-964-0046, Toll
Free - 800-232-8092, Fax - 212-267-8137, DELGLOBALLAWSUIT@AOL.COM, both
of Schoengold & Sporn, P.C.

E. COLI OUTBREAK: Meat Packer and Stores in Minnesota Argue over Source
A Green Bay meat packer says it might not be the source of an E-coli
outbreak in Minnesota after all. American Foods Group says it has
identified no contamination in its products. But Supervalu, the
Minnesota-based parent company of Cub Foods, says it has traced an
outbreak of E-coli-related illnesses to ground beef its stores received
from the Green Bay company.

So far, at least 21 people from Minnesota are sick.

Supervalu announced a recall that now includes some stores in Wisconsin
and Minnesota and all Cub Foods stores in Chicago and Indianapolis.

At least five stores in western Wisconsin have cleared their shelves of
beef they fear may be contaminated. Those stores include Cub Foods in Eau
Claire and Onalaska, a Supervalu in Richland Center, a store in Eau
Claire and a store in Rice Lake.

Health officials say they're monitoring the situation. (The Associated
Press State & Local Wire, December 4, 2000)

H&R BLOCK: Not an Agent to Rapid Refund Customers, Supreme Court Rules
Tax preparation company H&R Block does not act as an agent to customers
who receive loans based on their prospective tax refunds through the
company's "Rapid Refund" program, a divided Supreme Court has ruled.

Block prepares income-tax returns for its customers. In addition to the
preparation, Block can electronically file the tax returns with the IRS.
Through this electronic filing, Block offers its customers a service
commonly called the "Rapid Refund" program. Block says it will turn the
return into cash through a "Refund Anticipation Loan."

More than 600,000 Pennsylvania taxpayers participated in the Rapid Refund
program between 1990 and 1993. In Pennsylvania, Block offered the RAL
program through Mellon Bank. Those participating in the program would
receive the cash up front, minus a financing charge, and then later remit
the actual refund to Mellon. The finance charge is a percentage interest
rate on the short-term loan.

The class action lawsuit alleged that Block breached its fiduciary duty
to customers who participated in the program by not adequately informing
them that the Rapid Refund service is in fact a loan, complete with
interest, and that Block had a financial interest in arranging the
loan.The high court, however, sided primarily with Block, ruling that the
company's activities surrounding the acquisition of the loan were not
enough to establish an agency relationship that imposes such a fiduciary
duty. "If a customer elected to apply for an RAL, Block simply
facilitated the loan process by presenting appellees to Mellon Bank as
viable loan candidates," Justice Ronald D. Castille wrote for the
majority in Basile v. H&R Block. "Block neither applied for the loan on
behalf of appellees nor determined that appellees should apply; appellees
undertook that procedure themselves." "The RAL program was merely another
distinct and separate service offered by Block to its customers.
Furthermore, it was a distinct service that Block's customers were fully
aware came at a higher price, just as one would expect for an advance of

The court's decision sided with the vast majority of sister cases around
the country. The court said in a footnote that only one case decided by
the Maryland Supreme Court has found an agency relationship between Block
and its customers. The Pennsylvania high court also pointed out that the
Maryland case relied on the Superior Court decision in Basile, which was
overturned by the instant decision. Justices Russell M. Nigro and Thomas
Saylor each filed a separate dissenting opinion.

The case was originally filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
and then transferred to federal court. It was then bounced back to common
pleas court. Once it was there, Administrative Judge John W. Herron threw
out the class action on all claims but one breach of fiduciary duty. The
case was then transferred to Judge Stephen E. Levin.

Levin granted summary judgment to Block in February 1998, ruling that
Block had not entered into a fiduciary relationship or acted as an agent
for Block customers who sought tax-preparation services. He preserved any
separate individual claims under the state consumer protection law. The
Superior Court, however, rejected Levin's analysis, saying that
Pennsylvania agency law does establish a possible agency relationship
between Block and the class members. The court did not rule on the
taxpayers' other theory of liability that a fiduciary duty arose as the
result of a confidential relationship between Block and its customers.
Block appealed solely on the agency issue, and the high court granted

On appeal, the customers maintained their position that Block breached
its fiduciary duty to them by not disclosing that the Rapid Refund
program was actually a loan in which Block had a financial interest.
Block countered that it did not have an agency relationship with its
customers in regard to the RAL program.

Under Pennsylvania law, there are three basic elements of agency: "the
manifestation by the principal that the agent shall act for him, the
agent's acceptance of the undertaking and the understanding of the
parties that the principal is to be in control of the undertaking." The
burden rests with the party asserting the relationship. The high court
sided with Block and found that the record did not show that Block had an
agency relationship with its customers with respect to the RALs.
"Appellees were not required to apply for an RAL in order to have their
returns prepared by Block or filed electronically through Block,"
Castille wrote. "It was appellees alone who decided to take advantage of
that particular option. Block was neither authorized to, nor did it in
fact, act on its customers' behalf in this regard." The court said that
introducing its customers to a lender to provide a loan is not enough to
establish an agency relationship.

The matter was not ended there, however, the court said. In the lower
courts, the taxpayers argued that Block owed them a fiduciary duty "as a
result of a confidential relationship." The court said since the Superior
Court did not address the issue nor was the matter briefed before the
high court, the case should be remanded to the Superior Court for further


In his dissenting opinion, Nigro said he believed that an agency
relationship did exist between Block and its customers which extended to
those customers participating in the RAL program. He asserted that all
three principles of agency were met. "Here, (1) the taxpayer manifested
her consent to the tax preparer that she wished to participate or take
advantage of H&R Block's Rapid Refund program when it was offered; (2)
the preparer facilitated the process of obtaining a Rapid Refund by
offering an application; and (3) the preparer consented to act on the
taxpayer's need by matching the taxpayer to a source for the early
refund, here, Mellon Bank." Nigro said therefore that Block was an agent,
as he defined the relationship, and as such, it had a duty to disclose to
its customers its relationship with Mellon Bank. Saylor agreed with Nigro
that an agency relationship existed between Block and its Rapid Refund
customers, but noted that he agreed with the majority's remand for
further consideration. (The Legal Intelligencer, November 30, 2000)

HEARTLAND FUNDS: All Fund Shareholders Since 1997 Included in Lawsuit
Investors in the Heartland High-Yield Municipal Bond Fund (Nasdaq: HRHYX)
and the Heartland Short Duration High-Yield Municipal Fund (Nasdaq:
HRSDX) have filed a class action lawsuit after suffering devastating
losses from the sudden and shocking revaluation of those funds. Investors
in these funds are represented by Shalov Stone & Bonner, which currently
serves as a Lead Counsel for investors in the Dreyfus Aggressive Growth
Fund Litigation, and which is experienced in the representation of mutual
fund investors in actions against mutual fund companies. The class
actions include all investors who purchased shares of those funds at any
time since November 9, 1997. The lawsuit is pending in the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (case number

Contact: Ralph M. Stone of Shalov Stone & Bonner, 212-686-8004

HMOs: Groundbreaking NJ Case Involving Baby Girl's Death Proceeds
The couple who helped end ''drive-through'' deliveries after their
2-day-old daughter died are on a new crusade this time to hold HMOs
accountable for their medical decisions. Steve and Michelle Bauman hope
to crack the shield of a federal law that has protected health
maintenance organizations from lawsuits by patients who were harmed by
the denial, delay or poor quality of care. They're suing Aetna U.S.
Healthcare, claiming its former policy of discharging newborns from
hospitals after 24 hours led to the death of their first baby, Michelina,
a day after she was sent home in May 1995.

Their testimony to Congress and the New Jersey Legislature, detailing
Michelina's death from an infection that would have been detected in the
hospital, led to a federal law and many state laws requiring a minimum
48-hour stay for newborns and their mothers.

Now the Baumans are trying to win financial damages from Aetna. In a
precedent-setting ruling last June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a
federal appeals court ruling that the couple could sue the HMO for
malpractice in state court. They're preparing for a trial next summer.

Until now, HMOs routinely got state malpractice lawsuits moved to federal
courts, where the most plaintiffs can recover is the cost of care denied

''The ultimate thing we're looking for is ... making it safer for other
newborns and their mothers,'' Steve Bauman said Thursday in an interview
at their attorney's Cherry Hill office. ''Somebody's got to be held
accountable so they know they can't get away with this anymore.''

Other efforts seeking the same goal include pending federal class-action
lawsuits attacking the way HMOs manage care, and attempts to pass federal
and state laws giving at least 125 million patients the right to sue

The House passed a Patients Bill of Rights this year, but it failed in
the Senate by one vote. John Stone, spokesman for the House sponsor, Rep.
Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., predicts it will pass early in the next Congress
because more Republican senators now back it.

Seven states including California, Texas and Maine have passed such laws
since 1997 and 27 others debated them this year, according to Molly
Stauffer of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many bills
died or were withdrawn, but will be reintroduced in January, she said. A
New Jersey bill passed the state Senate 38-0 but is tied up in the

The American Medical Association, its state affiliates and many consumer
groups have lobbied hard for such laws, while HMOs and the Health
Benefits Coalition, representing 3 million employers, oppose them.

''What you're looking at is something that's going to drive up coverage
costs, encourage defensive medicine, do nothing to improve the quality of
care and benefit trial lawyers more than anyone else,'' said Susan
Pisano, spokeswoman for the American Association of Health Plans.

However, in Texas, where the first such law was enacted, only a handful
of malpractice suits have been filed.

Jamie Court, executive director of the watchdog group Foundation for
Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, said he hopes the laws will ''put some fear
into HMOs.''

The Baumans, who have moved from Williamstown, N.J., to Spring Hill,
Fla., with their young daughter Alanna and son Steven, say the HMO nurse
who was to visit Michelina the day after discharge never came, and their
pediatrician told them not to worry about the baby's moaning, strange
rash and other symptoms.

Aetna said it has no legal liability because all care decisions were made
by the couple's doctor, who also is a defendant.

The current restrictions on lawsuits against HMOs are based on the 1974
Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, which was interpreted
in early court rulings as exempting all HMO plans sponsored by private
employers from lawsuits claiming harm from denial of care. ERISA was
meant to guarantee that employees get the benefits employers promise

Now patients' lawyers are arguing that HMOs provided substandard medical
care, because those cases are governed by state laws.

''Our case is one of the few cases, and the only one that's gone through
a federal appeals court, where we're challenging HMO policies that cause
malpractice to occur,'' said Josh Spielberg, the Baumans' lawyer. ''It
has already, I think, opened up (the way for) more of these cases.'' (AP
Online, December 4, 2000)

HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Former Nazi SS Officer Julius Viel Went on Trial
An 82-year-old retired German journalist went on trial Monday accused of
gunning down seven Jewish concentration camp inmates during World War II,
one of Germany's last Nazi war crimes suspects to face justice.

Julius Viel, a second lieutenant in a Nazi SS unit during the war, is
charged with seven counts of murder. He allegedly shot the inmates from
the Theresienstadt camp in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia in the spring of
1945.  Officials said that an investigation against Viel was launched in
the early 1960s, but had to be closed in 1964 for lack of evidence.

The white-haired Viel, wearing a gray suit and tie, walked haltingly to
his seat in the small courtroom before the charges were read. Doctors
last week ruled him fit to stand trial after his attorney had argued he
was too old and frail. Viel was arrested at his home in the southern town
of Wangen in October 1999 after German prosecutors received new evidence
implicating him in the slayings. Officials say he attempted suicide
shortly after being jailed. Viel became a respected journalist in postwar
Germany and was awarded a government medal for his writings on hiking.
(AP, December 4, 2000)

MILWAUKEE CHILD: Amended Suit over Foster Care System Expected
A lawsuit to be filed on Monday says a state-run foster care system
regularly leaves kids in foster homes longer than it should.

It's an amended version of a class-action lawsuit filed by Children's
Rights Incorporated in 1993.

The New York-based group contends the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare
isn't ensuring the safety of children in its custody. They cite examples
of five more Milwaukee County foster children who have been in foster
care for years -- without anyone looking for a permanent home. The suit
says the state hasn't started proceedings to terminate some peoples'
parental rights as it should have under law. Children's Rights isn't
seeking damages -- they're asking for a court order that would mandate
reforms to the foster care system.

Paul Barnett is a lawyer for the Department of Justice. He says he hasn't
seen evidence of the violations.

A state-run foster care system routinely leaves children in foster homes
for longer than it should, according to an amended version of a
class-action lawsuit to be filed Monday.

In the original lawsuit filed in 1993, New York-based Children's Rights
Inc. contended the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare was failing to
ensure the safety and meet the needs of children in its custody. The
lawsuit listed several cases in which foster children were allegedly put
in dangerous conditions or undesirable placements. In the amended
complaint the group lists five additional Milwaukee County foster
children who have allegedly remained in foster care for years without
steps being taken to find them permanent homes.

The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 requires states to initiate
proceedings to terminate the rights of parents whose children have been
in foster care for 15 of the past 22 months. The lawsuit says the state
has filed no such petitions for the five cases.

Children's Rights is not seeking monetary damages, but reform of the
foster care system through a court order that would require the agency to
hire and retain sufficient staff, among other things.

According to the lawsuit, two boys, Danny, 7, and Frank, 4, were taken
from from their biological mother in July 1998 because of neglect. The
boys were subsequently placed in several different homes only to be
removed because of unsafe conditions or other problems, the lawsuit says.
When they were finally returned to their initial foster parents, they had
"regressed substantially and were in worse condition than when they had
been initially placed with them a year earlier," the complaint said.

Another child, Corey, 8, has been in foster care since April 1997, when
he was found wandering in the streets by police, the lawsuit says. The
boy suffers from behavioral problems due to a history of severe sexual
abuse. His mother has a history of alcohol and cocaine use, has been
diagnosed with AIDS and has been mostly incarcerated in recent years. The
boy lives with foster parents who have indicated they will be moving out
of town, yet no adoptive home for the boy has been identified. Without an
adoptive home, Corey will be subject to a "traumatic separation" from the
foster family he has bonded with for 3 1/2 years only to be placed in yet
another temporary home.

Julie, 12, who functions at only a first-grade level, was removed from
her home because of severe neglect in 1995. Earlier this year, she was
observed in a roach-infested foster home wearing a "tattered blouse,
which was held together by safety pins, the lawsuit says. Her biological
mother has expressed no interest in regaining custody, but she has yet to
face termination of parental rights proceedings.

Diana, 5, was removed from her mother's home in July 1996 because of
neglect, the lawsuit says. The bureau had planned to return the girl -
who has special dietary problems that are potentially life-threatening -
even though a nurse has reported concerns about the mother's ability to
care for Diana. Although referred for a psychiatric evaluation, the girl
has yet to receive one and her emotional problems have not been treated.

Eric Thompson, a lawyer with Children's Rights, said the five cases are
indicative of a system-wide problem, and "classic illustrations" of why
Congress passed the adoption act.

But Paul Barnett, a Department of Justice lawyer representing the bureau
in the lawsuit, said he has yet to see any evidence to support that. "We
will strive to do our best to ascertain their merit - or lack of merit -
and proceed accordingly," Barnett said. Barnett has until Dec. 15 to
respond to the amended lawsuit in federal court. The two-week jury trial
for the case is set for April 2002. (The Associated Press State & Local
Wire, December 4, 2000)

NYPD: Sp Ct Stays out of Disputes over Police’s Stopping of Taxi in NY
The Supreme Court stayed out of disputes Monday over policies in New York
City and Boston that allowed police to stop taxicabs as a way to protect
cab drivers. A New York appeals court had ruled that the NYPD's special
Taxi-Livery Task Force was too prone to violate passengers' privacy
rights. On the other hand, a federal appeals court ruled that a different
policy in Boston did not violate passengers' rights. The Supreme Court
declined to review both rulings.

Justice Department lawyers filed papers in the Boston case, saying it
differed significantly from the New York case. The Boston policy was
conducted with the drivers' consent and advance notice to passengers,
government lawyers said. The stops in The New York case were ``markedly
more intrusive,'' the lawyers added.

The New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, ruled last
December that the NYPD gave officers too much discretion to stop taxis
carrying passengers when they had no reason to suspect any crime was

The task force was created in 1992 to address the high number of violent
crimes against drivers of cabs serving high-crime neighborhoods.
Forty-five cab drivers were murdered in New York City in 1992, and there
were 3,675 robberies of cab drivers that year.

Plainclothes officers in unmarked cars stopped taxis in certain
neighborhoods, questioning the drivers about their safety while watching
the passengers' reactions. Officers were told to stop cabs in a certain
sequence, for example every third occupied taxi they saw.

Police stops of two cabs were challenged separately by a man and youth
who were arrested and charged with cocaine-connected crimes. The state
Court of Appeals threw out their convictions after finding the stops

In the Boston case, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the
city's Taxi Inspection Program for Safety was valid because cab company
owners voluntarily participated and gave their consent to the police

Since 1996, owners who agree to participate are given decals to stick to
each of their cabs' rear side windows. The decals, printed in English and
Spanish, say: ``This vehicle may be stopped and visually inspected by the
Boston police at any time to ensure driver's safety.''

Ronald Woodrum was a passenger in a taxi stopped by two Boston policemen
in a high-crime neighborhood shortly after midnight on Jan. 22, 1998.
Woodrum was arrested and charged with carrying a gun and possessing crack
cocaine with intent to distribute.

After unsuccessfully challenging the admissibility of the seized gun and
cocaine as evidence against him, Woodrum pleaded guilty to reduced
charges but did not forfeit his right to appeal the validity of the
officers' action. The appeals court upheld his conviction, saying the
TIPS stop amounted to a ``rather modest intrusion on passengers'

The cases were New York vs. Boswell, 99-1440, Corporation Counsel vs.
Muhammad F., 99-1443, and Woodrum v. U.S., 00-60. (AP, December 4, 2000)

OXNARD UNION: Developers School Construction Fees Waived with Bond Issue
At least two development companies are suing the Oxnard Union High School
District, claiming that district leaders cannot charge developer fees for
hundreds of new homes going up in northeast Oxnard.

The lawsuits are based on a 1994 agreement that the developers say freed
them from paying any developer fees for the cost of school construction
if Oxnard Union passed a bond issue. That $57 million bond issue, which
paid for the construction of the new Pacifica High School, passed in

Oxnard Union and the plaintiffs are "millions of dollars" apart in their
positions on what is owed, said Carla Ryhal, attorney for the developers,
Standard Pacific and Shea Homes.

Oxnard Union Assistant Superintendent Eric Ortega said he could say only
that the amount of money in dispute is "substantial." He declined
additional comment because the matter is in litigation. Superintendent
Bill Studt also declined comment.

School districts around the state charge fees to home builders for
classrooms needed to educate the additional students that development
generates. But the plaintiffs argue that several sections of the 1994
pact voided such fees once Oxnard Union passed the bond.

The written agreement says that 60 days after a successful bond election,
Oxnard Union shall "require no further fees for schools pursuant to this

It also says that landowners who paid fees after the agreement took
effect shall have them reimbursed to the extent permitted by law if a
bond measure is passed within eight years of the payment of those fees.

Oxnard Union entered the agreement three years after its bid to pass a
bond issue for the new campus in the overcrowded district failed in 1991.
Landowners and developers in the 737-acre area opposed the first bond but
say they dropped their opposition to the 1996 bond based on the

Ryhal said it is not as though the developers and landowners have paid
nothing. She said they allowed liens to be placed on their property so
the district could qualify for school financing and also supported the
bond issue, which raised their property taxes.

Ryhal said no trial date has been set. She said disputes over developer
fee agreements are normally settled before they go to trial.

Stan Mantooth, a financial official with the county Superintendent of
Schools Office, said agreements between developers and school districts
are not unusual, but one that waives fees based on passage of a bond
issue is not commonplace.

Trustee Irene Pinkard, who was not on the board at the time of the
agreement, said the current board has been discussing the dispute for a
couple months.

"I don't know that we've said what we're going to do yet," she said. "We
still have the staff looking into the situation and the actual

Pacifica High, off Gonzales Road, is scheduled to open next fall with
about 1,200 students and eventually hold 2,500. It was designed to ease
overcrowding in the district, where class sizes average 38 students.

Trustees, though, have said they are not sure how much the situation will
improve because of growth in Oxnard and Camarillo. Development in
northeast Oxnard alone is expected to generate 400 to 500 additional high
school students over four years. (Ventura County Star (Ventura County,
Ca.), November 30, 2000)

PIPER CAPITAL: SEC Fines $2 Mil for Fraud in Collapse of Fund
The former Piper Capital Management Inc. has been fined $2 million by a
Securities and Exchange Commission administrative law judge for violating
the securities fraud laws in connection with the 1994 collapse of PCM's
Institutional Government Portfolio fund, the SEC announced Friday.

In an initial decision, Judge H. Peter Young also revoked the former
Minneapolis-based firm's registration to operate as an investment adviser
based on allegations that the fund failed to disclose pricing and
derivatives market risk. Young also censured the six individuals
responsible for the fund, but did not fine or bar them from the
securities business.

The SEC charged that PCM, a former division of Piper Jaffray, which was
acquired by U.S. Bancorp in 1998 and now operates as U.S. Bancorp Piper
Jaffray, falsely told investors it was making conservative investments,
but was actually making high-risk investments and had changed its
investment objective without securing shareholder approval. The SEC also
charged that PCM reported inaccurate net asset values for the fund.

Several Minnesota cities and counties participated in the fund in 1993
and 1994 and many lost about 25% of their investments. Several of those
municipal investors joined a 1993 class action lawsuit that resulted in a
$70 million settlement by PCM.

A U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray spokeswoman said Friday the firm has not
decided whether it will appeal the decision and the fine. (The Bond
Buyer, December 4, 2000)

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Lawyers Close Arguments Over Florida Vote Tally
Veering between dramatic legal flourishes and dry statistical analysis,
teams of Republican and Democratic lawyers completed their arguments last
night in Vice President Al Gore's contest of the Florida presidential
election. Both sides reminded the judge that his decision, which he
promised by this morning, could determine the next president.

Mr. Gore remained determined to press on with his legal case in Florida,
holding a high-level strategy session that took on an air of urgency
because of the ticking of the clock, the dwindling of his legal options
and the start of a potentially decisive week in the courts.  A15

George W. Bush's running mate, Dick Cheney, called for Mr. Gore to
concede the election, saying that history would regard him "in a better
light if he were to bring this to a close in the very near future."  A15

One person in Mr. Gore's inner circle has been even more determined than
he is to fight on: his running mate, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman.  A18

Faced with the possibility -- if not probability -- of a Bush presidency
and a Republican-led Congress, liberal groups have begun organizing for
what could be a succession of quick, brutal battles on nominations, tax
cuts and the budget. (The New York Times, December 4, 2000)

PROTECTION ONE: Law Offices of Charles J. Piven Files Securities Suit
Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. announced that a private securities
action requesting class action status has been initiated on behalf of all
persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired Protection One
Alarm Monitoring, Inc. 7-3/8% Senior Notes Due 2005 and Protection One
Alarm Monitoring, Inc. 6-3/4% Convertible Senior Subordinated Notes Due
2003 from February 10, 1998 through November 12, 1999.

No class has yet been certified in the above action. Until a class is
certified, you are not represented by counsel unless you retain one. If
you purchased any of the Notes listed during the class period, you have
certain rights.

CONTACT: Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A., Baltimore Charles J.
Piven, 410/332-0030 pivenlaw@erols.com

SEAGATE TECHNOLOGY: Tells of Final Terms for VERITAS, Multi-Company Deal
VERITAS Software Corporation (Nasdaq: VRTS) and Seagate Technology
announced on December 1 final terms for the three-party transaction
involving the sale of Seagate's operating assets to a company formed by a
group of private equity firms led by Silver Lake Partners, followed by a
merger between Seagate and a subsidiary of VERITAS Software, which closed
on November 22, 2000. As a result of this transaction, VERITAS Software's
total number of shares of common stock outstanding decreased by 18.7
million shares, or just over 4% of the total outstanding shares on a
fully diluted basis.

The announcement says VERITAS Software has acquired all of the 128
million VERITAS Software shares previously held by Seagate, as well as
the investment securities of Gadzoox Networks previously held by Seagate.
Seagate stockholders will receive 0.4465 shares of VERITAS common stock
and $8.5484 in cash per share of Seagate common stock, based upon
244,993,020 Seagate fully diluted shares outstanding. VERITAS Software
expects to begin distributing the shares and cash to Seagate stockholders
on or before December 6, 2000.

Seagate stockholders may also be entitled to receive additional cash
payments in the future following the receipt of tax refunds and
utilization of tax credits attributable to Seagate's operations prior to
the transaction closing, the liquidation of the investment securities of
Lernout & Hauspie previously held by Seagate and the release of $50
million of additional merger consideration currently being held pending
court approval and completion of previously settled class action
litigation relating to the transaction.

According to the announcement, VERITAS Software and Seagate mailed the
joint proxy statement/prospectus concerning the transaction to their
respective stockholders on or about October 23, 2000, and filed it with
the SEC. Investors and security holders may obtain a free copy of the
joint proxy statement/prospectus and other documents filed by the
companies at the SEC's web site at http://www.sec.gov.

SEPTA: Not Responsible for Costs of Therapy by Unlicensed Individuals
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is not responsible
for the cost of physical therapy for people injured in accidents
involving the authority if the therapy providers are not licensed, the
Commonwealth Court has ruled.

The decision reverses a finding from the Philadelphia Court of Common
Pleas in favor of a class of medical and osteopathic physicians. The
court granted summary judgment as to liability and partial summary
judgment as to damages in addition to awarding injunctive and declaratory

The Commonwealth Court remanded Kleinberg v. SEPTA for the trial court to
determine the merits of the case. "Unarguably, considering the foregoing
precedent, in which the courts have consistently reaffirmed the fact that
the [Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Practice Act] requires those who
administer physical therapy services to be licensed, we cannot concur
with the trial court's conclusion that if such services are delegated to
persons, whether licensed under the PTPA or not, who are supervised by
the delegating physician, an insurer is responsible for paying for such
services," Judge James Gardner Colins.

Dr. Harvey S. Kleinberg is the representative of the class of doctors who
sought compensation from SEPTA. The patients at issue are those who have
been in accidents involving SEPTA. The doctors prescribed specific
physical therapy programs and delegated the therapy to "trained,
supervised technicians."

Under the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, SEPTA, as a
self-insurer, is required to pay first-party medical benefits to those
injured in an accident with a SEPTA vehicle. In August 1997, SEPTA
instituted a policy of refusing to pay the benefits to those undergoing
physical therapy conducted by non-licensed technicians.

In January 1999, the trial court certified the class, in Kleinberg but
agreed to a temporary stay of resolution pending the result of a similar
case. In 1998, the Superior Court affirmed a trial court ruling in favor
of the plaintiff in a case factually similar to the one at bar. In Nelson
v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., the Superior Court upheld the trial
court's ruling that MVFRL required Nationwide to pay for physical therapy
treatments provided by a trained but unlicensed technician operating
under the general supervision of a physician.

The case was appealed, and the Supreme Court granted allocatur. However,
before that case could be argued before the high court, the parties

SEPTA then went to the Supreme Court and asked either to be substituted
as a party in Nelson for the appeal or for the high court to assume
jurisdiction over the case. The court nixed both approaches. SEPTA then
filed an appeal with the Commonwealth Court, arguing that the government
agency is responsible to pay only for "licensed physical therapy."
"Interpreting this 'plain and ordinary' statutory language, SEPTA avers
that the word 'licensed' cannot be ignored, that the individual rendering
physical therapy must be licensed and certified, and that a physician
cannot delegate physical therapy to an unlicensed, uncertified individual
and still expect an insurer to provide coverage," Colins wrote.SEPTA
argued, therefore, that the Superior Court in Nelson and the trial court
were both wrong in their decisions.

The court turned to analyzing the Legislature's intent in drafting the
PTPA. It provides in part: "It shall be a violation of this act for any
person or business entity to utilize in connection with a business name
or activity the words 'physical therapy' ... including the billing of
physical therapy services, unless such services are provided by a
licensed physical therapist in accordance with this act ..."The appeals
court said it had to abide by the Legislature's intent in choosing to use
the word "licensed." "The [PTPA] clearly expresses the legislative intent
that physical therapy services are to be provided by individuals licensed
under the PTPA," Colins wrote. Colins cited several cases, decided both
before and after Nelson, that support the court's ruling. Accordingly,
the Commonwealth Court reversed the Philadelphia trial court and remanded
for further proceedings. (The Legal Intelligencer, December 1, 2000)

SPORT-HALEY, INC: The Desmond Law Firm Investigates Stock Price Decline
The Desmond Law Firm is investigating the events surrounding the decrease
in Sport-Haley, Inc. (Nasdaq:SPORE) stock price. Previously the Company
announced that it would be restating its financial statements for the
fiscal years 1998, 1999 and the first three quarters of 2000. Such a
restatement is necessary to comply with Federal Securities Laws and to
comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP").

The law firm is looking into issues related to purchases between October
27, 1997, and November 7, 2000.

Contact: The Desmond Law Firm, West Palm Beach Leo W. Desmond,
888/337-6663 or 561/712-8000 Info@SecuritiesAttorney.com

UNITED REFINING: 1995 PA Suit over River Pollution Ends in Money Award
In 1995, the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation ("PEDF")
commenced a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western
District of Pennsylvania under Section 505 of the federal Water Pollution
Control Act, 33 U.S.C. Section 1251, et. seq. The complaint alleges a
series of discharges to the Allegheny River at the Company's refining
facility in Warren, Pennsylvania exceeding the limits contained in the
Company's waste water discharge permits. The complaint sought to enjoin
future discharges in excess of permitted limits, civil money penalties up
to $25,000 per day as provided in the Act, and an award of attorneys'
fees. The case was tried to the Court without a jury and concluded in
September 1998. On March 21, 2000 the Court entered a civil money award
in the amount of $400,000 and denied PEDF's request for injunctive
relief. PEDF also seeks attorneys' fees as provided by the Act. The
amount of such fees remains to be determined. The Company believes this
claim will not have any material adverse effect upon its operations or
consolidated financial condition.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency ("USEPA") has issued
certain Notices of Violation, an Administrative Order, and has asserted
certain additional claims arising under federal and state statutory and
regulatory law through and including August 5, 1998 (collectively the

The Claims arise from allegations that (1) the Company failed to properly
and consistently monitor, report and control emissions of Volatile
Organic Compounds ("VOCs") from its refining facility in Warren,
Pennsylvania; (2) fuel gas used in the refining process has in the past
contained levels of hydrogen sulfide in excess of permitted parameters,
and; (3) the Company in the past has failed to properly calculate and
report emissions of benzene from its refining facility.

The USEPA has also issued a Notice of Violation dated October 18, 1999
asserting certain additional claims (collectively the "Additional
Claims"). The Additional Claims allege certain violations of statutory
and regulatory law in connection with (a) certain construction activities
with the Company's Warren, Pennsylvania physical plant; and (b) operation
by the Company of certain equipment within the Company's physical plant.
The Claims and Additional Claims allege violations of the federal Clean
Air Act, as amended, and associated federal and state regulatory
requirements. USEPA's review of the Company's operations is continuing.
The Claims and Additional Claims seek civil money penalties in accordance
with USEPA's penalty policies in an amount yet to be determined. Until
the scope of the Additional Claims is known, the Company is unable to
determine the aggregate effect of the Claims and Additional Claims upon
its operations and consolidated financial condition.

UNITED REFINING: Named in MTBE Lawsuit in NY; Case Consolidated
The Company has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit involving the
marketing of petroleum products containing Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether
("MTBE") and the alleged contamination of groundwater with MTBE within
the State of New York. This case, together with other similar cases
involving other parties, has been centralized before the U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of New York pursuant to Transfer Order of
the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation filed October 20, 2000.
The complaint seeks, inter alia, compensatory and punitive damages and
certification as a class action. Preliminary discovery has commenced and
is continuing. No specific monetary demand has been made. Until the scope
of the MTBE related claims is known, the Company is unable to determine
their aggregate effect upon its operations and consolidated financial

In addition to the foregoing proceedings, the Company and its
subsidiaries are from time to time parties to various legal proceedings
that arise in the ordinary course of their respective business
operations. These proceedings include various administrative actions
relating to federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations.
The Company believes that if these legal proceedings in which it is
currently involved are determined against the Company, they would not
result in a material adverse effect on the Company's operations or its
consolidated financial condition.

WORLDCOM, INC: Weinstein Kitchenoff Files Securities Suit in Mississippi
Weinstein Kitchenoff Scarlato & Goldman Ltd. announces that a class
action lawsuit has been commenced on behalf of investors who purchased
shares of the common stock of WorldCom, Inc. (Nasdaq: WCOM) between April
13, 2000 and November 1, 2000 (the "Class Period"). The action was filed
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of

The complaint charges WorldCom and certain officers and directors with
violations of the federal securities laws by, among other things, making
materially false and misleading statements. Among other allegations, the
complaint asserts that: (a) the highly touted, multi-billion acquisition
of MCI, acquired only two years ago, was not, as previously represented,
making WorldCom an all-inclusive shop for telecommunications, data and
Internet services. To the contrary, the combined companies could not
function cohesively as one entity and the deal was not yielding the
anticipated cost savings or revenue increases as revealed by WorldCom's
creation of a separate "tracking stock" for MCI; (b) despite emphasizing
the Company's renewed focus on Internet-based services, defendants
counted on the anticipated revenue stream from the Sprint Merger to hide
the Company's decreasing growth rates; (c) contrary to defendants'
statements that the Company could "grow revenues and profitability"
despite intense pricing pressure, WorldCom was experiencing declining
growth -- especially on the area it characterized as the Company's
renewed focus -- Internet services; (d) WorldCom's financial statements
throughout the Class Period were artificially inflated due to its failure
to timely write down $405 million in receivables, representing accounts
which defendants knew or recklessly disregarded were not collectible.
After having traded as high as $ 49.1875 per share during the class
period, WorldCom's common stock closing price fell as low as $18.9375 per
share after the true facts were disclosed. Financial information and news
articles regarding WorldCom may be obtained on the Internet, including
the following links: http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=WCOM&d=t,

Contact: Andrew Henry, Esquire of Weinstein Kitchenoff Scarlato &
Goldman, 888-545-7201, or e-mail at ahenry@wksg.com


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